5 ways to renew interest in your RSS reader

Recently, I found myself in the bad habit of skipping over many of the blogs in my Google RSS reader or clicking the mark all as read button to clear everything out. I was missing interesting articles and relevant information. I decided to take 30 minutes to make my RSS reader as organized, useful, and efficient as possible for me. Here are five quick changes I made in Google Reader.

1. Don’t be afraid to unsubscribe. I’ve been using my RSS Reader for almost four years now and periodically I need to remove those blogs I am no longer interested in. Google Reader keeps track of your reading trends, interests, and habits. To access the Trends feature, open the All items link in the top left side of your Google Reader and then select Trends. This will give you a nice overview of what you are really reading.

2. Organize with folders. Up until a few days ago, my column of blogs that I follow was one, long running list. Create and title new folders to group similar topics in your list. This also makes it easier to view your RSS reader on a mobile device. Click the arrow beside a feed in your RSS list and then click New folder. Repeat this process to add new feeds to any existing folders you’ve already created.

3. Prioritize what you’ve got. If you’ve already got several blog folders in place, try rearranging them by priority. That way, if you’ve only got a few minutes you can just read the important stuff at the top and make your way down the list later. Reordering my list has helped draw my eye to new blogs that I had gotten in the bad habit of previously skipping over. Select the feeds that are most important to you then click the folder or blog name, hold, and drag to a new spot at the top of your list.

4. Discover new blogs. Google monitors keywords in the blogs you are currently following and offers suggestions for similar resources. Click the Explore link in the top, left corner of your RSS reader and browse the recommended items and sources. Click the subscribe button to begin following a suggested blog. I’ve found and started following several new blogs and authors this way.

5. Subscribe to a bundle. Speaking of finding new blogs, Google Reader also offers pre-packaged blog bundles related by topic. Click the Browse for stuff link in the top left corner of your RSS reader. The News bundle, for example, contains nine popular news blogs. By clicking the Subscribe button located near the News bundle, you can add all nine feeds to your RSS reader at once. You can always add or remove individual feeds later.



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Amber Nutt

Amber Nutt is an Education Support Technologist at the University of Kansas.
  • http://www.aaronsumner.com/ Aaron Sumner

    Ruthless unsubscribing is a must, especially when it comes to competing blogs falling over themselves to try to break a story. In these cases I see less unique analysis and more copy/pasting of press releases–when that becomes the pattern it’s a pretty good sign that I can dump the feed.

  • Amber Nutt

    I agree Aaron! I will also delete a blog if the author hasn’t posted in a few months. Its probably a sign that they’ve lost interest and it just clutters my blog list.